Blanch Your Veggies Before Freezing

peppers 3For culinary academy students who like to cook with the freshest ingredients possible, a backyard vegetable garden is the logical solution for their needs. You can’t get much fresher than walking out to the backyard (or stepping out onto your balcony if you grow potted veggies in an apartment) and picking your own food for the meal you are preparing. If you’ve ever grown your own food, you know that your harvest starts out slow but then really explodes around this time of year – giving you a surplus of garden goodies. Blanching is an important step that students in culinary courses won’t want to skip if they plan on freezing their bounty. It locks in the flavor and enriches the color of veggies and also softens them up while retaining their textures, so you can pack more of them into your containers without sacrificing quality.

Water blanching
This method is the fastest and most commonly used method for blanching vegetables. Just about any kind of vegetable can be blanched in boiling water. The best part is that the process is quite simple and doesn’t require any type of expert technique.

What you need:
The tools for blanching are simple enough. You can either use a blancher​, which comes with a blanching basket and cover, or you can use a large lidded pot and a wire basket. Another large pot or bowl is also useful and should be filled with ice water to complete the process.

  1. The first thing you will want to do is separate your veggies into one-pound portions. Try and also keep them separated by type. If you only blanch green beans with green beans, you’ll have more even results than blanching carrots with broccoli. Be sure to find a pot that can contain at least one gallon of water plus a pound of vegetables. For every pound of vegetables you plan on blanching at a time, you’ll need a gallon of water.
  2. Fill the pot or blancher with one gallon of water and bring it to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, use the basket to lower the vegetables into the pot and cover with the lid.
  3. After about a minute the water should resume boiling. If it hasn’t, you’ll need to add more water. Once the water has started boiling, students can start their timers for the blanching. Times will vary depending on the vegetable. Students taking cooking classes can use this guide from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
  4. After the required time has elapsed, quickly transfer the veggies to an ice bath to stop them from cooking any further. They are now ready to be stored in your freezer for cooking year-round!

If you like this post, please be sure to check out the following!

Cooking Basics: How To Clean Fruits And Vegetables
When To Choose Fresh, Frozen Or Canned Produce
Buying, Storing And Preparing Squash

 

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